XX: Cumin Home

Woah! Made it! This morning I completed my circuit of India, all 4 corners. North, South, East & West have been explored in 90 days of craziness. I think I summ’d it up perfectly with the last bit of the last stanza of my Raj & the Rose poem –

I step tween mendicants, oxen,
Fresh stools, strays, tips & crows,
Strange monkeymen, hags, swine & then
A sense of kinship grows;
It’s one fuck’d up sub-continent,
But wondrous, I suppose!

After a couple of days in the fairly anonymous town of Ratlam – where the rickshaws are these hugely monstrous, petrol-billowing, three-wheel dragons – I’ve now reach’d an especially humid Bombay. I’m only a couple of K from the airport, but there’s 17 hours to go b4 check-in, so I think I’m gonna go there soon & pretend I’m off to the Costa Del Sol & mi planes been delay’d by some strikin’ Spaniards – if Joe Bloggs can while a few inane hours in an airport lounge then so can I. I’ve recently crack’d into my last 100 rupee note (one squid fifty) for a particularly tasty sweet lassi, meaning I’ve got enough for this internet, a meal or two & some mineral water – plenty enough to last me til breakfast on the plane

All-in-all I nearly died a couple of times, but it’s been well worth it, all this Asia malarkey, tho’ as I’ve told Mr Hall I am intensely looking forward to sitting down with a copy of the Sun & swigging a can of Stella – tho’ not so much the mist, rain & wind. I expect everyone & everything back home is drowsy with the fragrant bloom of Spring, so see you soon

16/4/2002
Bombay

As a post-script, today’s date holds a special meaning for me. On the 16th April 1998, in a pleasant piazza in Pisa, I invoked the muse for my ‘Death of Shelley poem.’ Four years down the line I’m still writing the stuff, with more verve than ever. From Italia to India in about 17,000 lines – now surely there’s a poem there somewhere…

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